The Dark Below expansion just released for Destiny — our review of it is coming soon — and players continue to pour hours of time into Bungie’s online shooter. At the PlayStation Experience, after running through the new PlayStation exclusive strike with him, I casually asked Bungie’s Community Manager, DeeJ, why he thought people continued to pour hundreds of hours into Destiny, despite what can sometimes feel like a mountain of complaints and nitpicks from the community.
“Destiny Continues to Surprise Us”
His answer really stood out to me and gave me pause to think about my own experience with the game. It actually mirrored something I thought when I originally reviewed Destiny. Here’s what I said only five days after the game officially released worldwide:
“Destiny’s truly great moments are created by the player, rather than scripted by Bungie. They simply provide the canvas. One such moment had me swarmed on all sides by Vex. I let off a boosted double jump, switching to my rocket launcher on my way up and sending a shell to the crowd right beneath me, killing them all and barely saving my life.”
“…my fireteam and I had tons of fun getting a ball to the roof and blasting it and each other into the air using the fan, laughing hysterically the entire time. Others in the tower noticed our antics and joined in the fun on the roof for well over 15 minutes.”
Since that day, I personally have had numerous moments like these. From just perusing the surface of each planet, to taking on the strikes and the raids, little moments have continued to surprise me and provide joy and pleasure for over 200 hours, which is about ten times more than a lot of other recent games.
In addition to pulling off awesome moves against enemies, Destiny’s social experience is a unique one as well. As the chat is limited to fireteams only in social areas, players must communicate with dancing and emotes — like waving or pointing — which has led to a lot of crazy dance parties in the Tower, and even making some new friends through a wave or a bow. This has opened up a series of metagames across Destiny. Unofficial Sparrow races have prompted Bungie to consider actually putting racing into the game. My friends and I have started doing speed runs of the Strikes and story missions, which prompt unexpected results from the AI and lead to taking selfies on a difficult tank boss. The screenshot above is courtesy of our own Dan O.
The most recent surprise happened last night when playing with my wife and her cousin. My fireteam returned to the Tower to grab a couple of Crucible bounties. We noticed that a series of players were sitting in a circle, as often happens, but then something crazy occurred. Without any communication at all, someone started up a game of Duck, Duck, Goose! Sure, it’s an imprecise science, and there’s no way to really determine if the person labeled as “goose” caught the other person before sitting down, but despite this, the game lasted for a nearly ten minutes before breaking into a conga line as we made our way back to orbit. And thanks to the PS4 Share function, I managed to capture the whole thing for the world to see below.
DeeJ’s answer about Destiny continuing to surprise players resonates with me, and is the most perfect answer that he could have given for my question. Sure, I have my own complaints here and there about the game, but for the surprise and entertainment that it brings me, and the awesome social experience with friends from all over the world, I will be logging countless more hours into Destiny. I really have no idea what surprises are around the corner in my next 200 hours, but I’m excited to find out.